UPDATE 6/11/07 8:01 PM: Well, not so much. Details on the update to this story are at this link, which is the item just above this on the regular scroll. Here's what we posted Sunday night...
On its way out the door in Ashtabula, Clear Channel is filing for a frequency swap between that area and Youngstown.
The company has filed to move 97.1 FM - the long-time home of AC WREO "Star 97.1" - to McDonald, a small village in Trumbull County.
In turn, 106.1/Niles, the current oldies WBBG "Big 106.1", heads north back up into the Ashtabula area, with a community of license of Geneva-on-the-Lake. (For those keeping score, that is actually a separate community from Geneva, which already has Music Express country outlet WKKY/104.7.)
The facilities changes:
WREO TO YOUNGSTOWN: 97.1 downgrades from a Class B to a Class A facility in its move to the Youngstown market, with the proposed antenna site at the current tower holding Clear Channel sister station rock WNCD/93.3 "The Wolf".
For those keeping score, it's also the antenna home of Cumulus sports WBBW/1240 "ESPN 1240", and is next to the long-time former studio facility on Knox Street.
And since WBBG used to be on 93.3, its new replacement facility will be on the very same tower as its former home.
WBBG TO ASHTABULA: 106.1 stays a Class A outlet in its move up north, with antenna co-located with current Clear Channel sister top 40 WZOO/102.5 Edgewood OH "102ZOO".
Why is this being done?
It would appear that on its way out of Ashtabula, Clear Channel wants to fix up signal problems with 106.1 Niles by supplanting it with the new 97.1.
Even since 106.1 signed on with the original WNCD "CD 106 The Wolf" rock format, long before Clear Channel ended up with the facility, it wasn't all the best for covering the entire Youngstown market.
In fact, current Cumulus AC WLLF/96.7 Mercer PA "The River" once simulcast WNCD, as you can probably tell by the call letters it has kept even to this day.
Problem areas for the 106.1 signal would include the Mahoning Valley's most vital residential areas, like Boardman, Canfield and the like. And if you're in a market that doesn't really see much growth, you've gotta be where the people are living.
The new 97.1 McDonald wouldn't be located as far north as the 106.1 facility is now. It'd be in the heart of the market, co-located with 93.3.
As for the new-to-Ashtabula 106.1 Geneva-on-the-Lake: We presume that's the facility which will be flipped to Tom Embrescia's "Sweet Home Ashtabula", along with the other current Clear Channel Ashtabula facilities (WFUN/970, WYBL/98.3, WZOO/102.5 Edgewood, WFXJ/107.5 North Kingsville).
As for questions about the new 106.1 Class A facility moving west...probably not. It's unlikely for various reasons, including the presence of Cleveland second-adjacents WMJI/105.7 and WMVX/106.5.
Even with (current) common ownership, Clear Channel isn't going to agree to any changes that would even cause fringe-area concerns with its powerful Cleveland stations.
And you can bet Clear Channel isn't dropping this frequency into the hands of Tom Embrescia, if it thought the long-time Cleveland broadcaster could compete with them by trying to move it...